Crop Progress and Condition for the Week Ending March 27, 2016.
It was a warmer than normal week, with temperatures averaging 2 to 4 degrees above normal in the north and central portions of the State and 4 to 8 degrees above normal in the southern region. Lows in the mountains were 0s – 30s based on elevation, 20s to 60s in the desert, 30s to 50s in valley, and 40s along the coast. Highs in the mountains ranged from 30s to 60s, largely dependent on elevation. Highs along the coast and valleys were 50s to 60s and the deserts reached the 60s to 80s.
Most of the precipitation occurred early in the week and over the northern parts of the State. The heaviest accumulations fell in the northwestern mountains and in the foothills of the Sierras, with totals of 1/2 to one inch. Some locations along the coast as far south as San Luis Obispo received rain showers. Most totals elsewhere were under 1/4 inch with little if any rainfall occurring over Southern areas.
Early in the week, much of the precipitation fell as snow across the northern mountains and Sierra foothills. 1 to 2 feet of snow fell across the northern mountains, with 3 to 6 inches in the Sierras.
Some winter forage crops were starting to be harvested and groundwork continued for spring plantings. Fields were fertilized and irrigated. Winter wheat continued to mature. Alfalfa growth was good and some fields were cut and baled. In Fresno County, alfalfa was cut and greenchopped. In Colusa County, safflower, sunflower, and corn were planted. In Sutter County, recent rains continued to benefit alfalfa and winter forage crops.
In Sutter County, orchard maintenance continued but was hampered by the weather. Application of bloom sprays continued in anticipation of additional rain. Many varieties of stone fruit were leafing out and setting fruit. In Tulare County, stone fruit trees were nearing the end of the bloom. Some fruit was thinned.
In Fresno and Madera Counties, applications of copper and sulfur to grapes continued. Grape vines were starting to leaf-out. Old vineyards continued to be pushed out to make way for new plantings. Both mechanical and chemical weed control continued. Navel and Valencia oranges and tangerines continued to be harvested. Navel oranges and kiwifruit were packed and shipped.
In Sutter and Tulare Counties, walnuts and pistachios were leafing and blooming. Almonds continued to show rapid growth. In Fresno County, almonds and walnuts continued to be fertilized and irrigated. Suckering continued on young almond and pistachio trees.
In Colusa County, dry weather conditions allowed resumption of tomato planting. In Sutter County, planting and cultivation of vegetables for farmer’s markets continued. In Monterey County, cooler weather slowed growth of brassicas and lettuce. Broccoli and cauliflower harvest increased. Wet weather helped saturate soils for season leading to less winter watering.
In Fresno County, processing tomatoes were planted, cultivated, irrigated, and fertilized. Earlier planted fields looked good. Dehydrator onions were treated for purple blotch. Onions for seed were bolting. Black kale had good seed set. Mazuna mustard seed, argula seed, and red and green kale seed were blooming. Herbicide and irrigation were applied to carrot fields.
In Tulare County, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, and Brussels sprouts were harvested and sold at Farmer’s Markets. Onions were maturing.
In Sutter County, pastures and rangeland continued to improve. In Tulare County, warmer weather continued to increase rangeland forage growth, thus reducing the need for supplemental feed. Sheep continued to graze in fallow fields. Some beehives remained in prune orchards.